Sunday, December 17, 2017

Decluttering and bread making while the garden grows

The third week of Advent and Christmas is approaching fast, but we mostly feel under control -presents have been organised, cards sent, and festivities begun with the usual end-of-year events.

There are two other things going on around here, one is that I have been experimenting with refining my bread making techniques, and the other is a growing tidal wave of decluttering.

Regarding the decluttering -the new lounge room cabinets liberated a chest of drawers that was used to store craft supplies.  It turned out to be just the right size to fit next to my bed, which until then had only had a bedside table, without drawers. I love being able to put everything away -and there is plenty of room to store my extensive collection of op shop scarves, too. I like the look of the drawers -neat and tidy.

DH was inspired so we measured the rest of the space in the room and were happy to realise that there was room for the same unit on the other side of the bed -and off we went to IKEA buy one for him- they are called Alex and are in the office section of the store. The shallow drawers are great for keeping books and medicines  near the bed. DH is talking about painting the whole bedroom -he is feeling really good about the opportunity it gives to update and refresh everything.

This in turn has led to him taking a keen eye to clutter in his study. The former bedside tables are now side tables in his study, and go nicely with the new photo frames he has been setting up to refresh the decor. The study is a work in progress, because the lead-up to Christmas is a busy time for him. I think that once Christmas is over, he will be happily pottering away on making this place work better and look better.

I have been continuing to tidy up too. DH mentioned that he was feeling the front porch was looking tired, so we rearranged and changed some things there too, to make a less cluttered and spacious entrance to our home. I moved the seed trolley to the back yard -now that I am not working it is easier for me to keep an eye on it there. The mulch is all spread, the roses have been fed and dead-headed and all the junk is gone. The only thing left to do is to get rid of some weeds in the brick paving - I have ordered a special tool for that, which should make it easier to achieve. Have you ever wondered how weeds in dry and hot brick paving seem so indestructible? I can't imagine there are many plants which could survive our baking hot sun  and dry weather, but these things are determined to take over the whole driveway. I am likewise determined that they will not!

Bread making

My sourdough technique has been improved by the use of an overnight first proving of the dough -and also by cooking the dough 'under the dome' of my roasting pan. The result is that the bread is more spongy with good sized air holes and has a thinner but crisp crust. Read my bread recipe and technique here 

The garden is looking great at the moment. Summer production is under way! We feel as though our garden has done a lot of maturing this year, and is now a micro-climate of its own, which is bringing good results in the production of food. Our place looks so lush when others in the street are a bit dry and bare.

Our pomegranates are coming along -not a huge crop, but growing nicely. This one will be cherry red and about the size of a baseball when ripe.

The kalamata olive is in production. 

The grapes on the trellis are ripening. 

The biggest crop is the passionfruit however -there are so many fruits on it just now! 

We are getting good sized Eureka lemons this year, which is confirming we made the right decision to plant the tree to supplement the Meyer lemon out the back. The Meyer lemons come all at once, but the Eureka is more of a continuous cropper. I can't imagine being without a lemon tree or two. Lemons are $4.50 each in the shops! I have a plan to make Nigella's Lemon and Thyme Bundt Cake for Christmas -as we have lots of lemons and thyme. I will probably serve it with some yummy icecream, out on the patio. The forecast for Perth for Christmas day at the moment is 29C, which should be just about perfect. 

1 comment:

Happy Retirees Kitchen said...

I envy you your Mediterranean climate, being able to grow olives and grapes. I am growing a pomegranate tree at home so it will be interesting to see how it grows in the tropics. I am always interested in sourdough techniques. I crisp my loaves up by taking them out of the bread tin straight after baking and putting them back in the hot oven for 5 minutes. Seems to work. Have a happy and enjoyable Christmas. Pauline